New tools to combat tobacco industry strategies that undermine and delay public health policy were announced at a working group meeting for Union members at the annual conference. Preventing industry interference is one of the most complex, but important elements of any tobacco control programme – this working group offers members support to develop these measures.
Dr Ehsan Latif, Director of The Union’s Department of Tobacco Control announced that in-depth training courses on Article 5.3 -- the section of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control dealing with industry interference -- will soon be available online. Previously this intensive training required attendance in person for three to five consecutive days – a significant time commitment. He said the new e-learning course was designed to be more flexible and more cost effective.
Another new initiative will establish mechanisms to observe and monitor tobacco industry tactics across all five WHO regions. The first of these observatories is being set up in Brazil. The purpose of the initiative is to observe and anticipate tobacco industry tactics across the globe – to more effectively combat this work.
The 8am working group meeting was full, with standing room only for latecomers. Attendees shared their experiences of industry interference and the counter-measures they had taken.